Today the snow is wandering,
over the backyard gate, fleeting.
Forgetting intention, losing purpose.
Aimless as school out in June.
This is the secret of adolescence.
Hodgepodge, it fills space like snow.
When you leave it, you forget.
But, here and now, it’s called drifting,
a blizzard of momentary. A “What are you doing
right now?” Each thought gathering,
joining on to the next. How snow caves form.
Aren’t they the best insulation?
The igloo of my daughter’s mind. What room
I can find her in, the place she calls
Hers/not/mine. I always thought the bricks
were made of mud, or clay. Not river current,
able to freeze over, but always flowing underneath.
O, no wonder I am always looking
out windows measuring snow. Wanting the covering
but, not remembering. How temporary, how replete.
Leaving mental health
Again, the snow, like whispers
like wondering. When I come
to see you, will you look
like you—face soft/open
like field/breeze pond-stretch
mostly calm, mostly the same?
Or will the waves have stitched
in you the crags of hawks, ready
for songbird, ready for steel flight
to anywhere, wind-swirl, silver
like metal, like sleek-aim, like
It is not your words, o mother.
It is the face I watch, all bones
stretched down to rock-cliff,
sheer edge, sharp drop,
planes of cheek, eyebrows
of quarry. Glinting beak
needing to find the next blood-
let, the next soft thing to dangle,
crush and capture, necessary
to keep you living.
Ellen Stone teaches at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her poems have appeared recently in Dunes Review, Gravel Mag, Passages North, and elsewhere. The Solid Living World won the 2013 Michigan Writers Cooperative Press chapbook contest. contact